You make the difference

BOARD & STAFF

What PAWS does would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of our team. Each manager, staff person and board member plays a role in helping each Assistance Dog Team be successful.

PAWS
BOARD

Meet the team guiding PAWS
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PAWS
MANAGEMENT

Meet the leaders of our organization
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PAWS
STAFF

Meet the people helping make it all possible
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PAWS BOARD

Executive Committee

Greg Bonner, Board Chair
Jane Hoggard, Vice Chair
Bart Merkle, Treasurer
Janey Ladd, Secretary

Douglas J. Dok Jr., Esq., Past President

Full Board

Greg Bonner
Douglas J. Dok Jr.
Faye Richardson Green
Jane Hoggard
Molly Koroleski
Janey Ladd
Bart Merkle
Sara Osterman
Chris Pucci
Dave Smith
Amanda Spore
Scott Winters
Melanie Yanchuk

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PAWS MANAGEMENT

“PAWS is a family. We’ve always been a family and always will be one.”
– Karen, Chief HR and Talent Officer 

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, Michele Suchovsky

An experienced nonprofit leader, Michele has served for 15 years as executive director of two nonprofit organizations, the first an arts and disability organization and the second an education organization. In these roles, she helped to grow both organizations into thriving nonprofit agencies impacting the lives of children and adults throughout West Michigan. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Grand Rapids Student Advancement Foundation (GRSAF), a strategic fundraising partner of the Grand Rapids Public Schools that advances education opportunities for all students in the district. Prior to her career in nonprofit management, Michele served as a Judicial Law Clerk to the Honorable George R. Corsiglia in Allegan County and as an Associate Attorney at Straub, Seaman & Allen. Michele received a J.D. from the University of Notre Dame Law School and a B.A. from The University of Michigan. In March of 2018, Michele was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan by the Grand Rapids Business Journal. Michele believes that all people should have the right and opportunity to live independent, full lives and that PAWS is a critical resource for helping people to find and maintain independence.

CHIEF HR AND TALENT OFFICER, Karen A. Sapp

Karen’s 27 years of experience help PAWS create an environment where employees feel valued and fulfilled by their work. She aligns PAWS’ corporate culture, leadership and structure with business strategies. This includes helping to develop the organization’s vision and mission, planning and maintaining business objectives, creating corporate policies and facilitating effective interpersonal communication. She also implements recruitment and retention strategies, evaluates work-related issues, determines effective remediation methods and trains staff in effective communication techniques. Karen pursued her Business Management/HR Management undergraduate studies at Davenport University. Her professional experience includes years as a Legal Assistant for several local attorneys.

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, Teri Crosby

Teri directs and coordinates PAWS’ financial management according to standards accepted in the United States. She directs and prepares financial analyses of operations for the guidance of management and the Board of Directors. Teri also manages multi-state tax filings, quarterly and year-end tax filings. She has over 25 years of finance experience. Teri pursued her undergraduate studies at Aquinas College in Accounting/Finance. Her previous career experience includes Beene Garter and Echelbarger, Himebaugh, Tamm & Cummins, P.C.

DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, Colette Beighley

As Development Director, Colette Beighley, CFRE works to connect PAWS donors to giving that creates the legacy they envision. Colette’s role at Paws With A Cause is a perfect marriage of her past advocacy for marginalized communities and her pervasive love of dogs. Throughout her career, Colette has been passionate about making more lives livable by advocating for underrepresented communities. Additionally, Colette and her family are an approved foster home for three different rescue organizations that specialize in finding homes for dogs with disabilities. In the ten years prior to coming to PAWS, Colette has been engaged in fundraising in the nonprofit sector. In 2014, Colette received the Milton E. Ford Leadership Award from Grand Valley State University; and, in 2013, GVSU’s prestigious Maxine Swanson Diversity Award. Colette received a Master’s degree in Counseling from California State University.

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PAWS STAFF

Office Staff

Mary Blain, Volunteer Liason
Kim Blozinski, Mail/Shipping Receiving
Connie Bowne, Field Representative Network Coordinator
Becky Canale, Client Relations Manager
Tony Clementi, Canine Production Manager
Carolyn Conway, Public Relations and Social Media Coordinator
Kelly Crabb, Human Resources Associate
Ashley Fleming, Graphic Designer
Catherine Hutchins, Annual Fund Manager
Jill Ver Lee, Executive Assistant
Paula Pasma, Database Coordinator
Haley Pomorski, Client Relations Administrative and Applicant Coordinator
Carrie Simmons, Marketing and PR Director

Training Staff

Kirstin Allan, Staff Trainer
Crystal BeVier, Training Team Leader
Haley Gorenflo, Foster Puppy Trainer
Barb Kozminski, Senior Staff Trainer
Shari Murdock, Senior Staff Trainer
Brad Rowe, Associate Trainer
Maddison Smith, Associate Trainer
Meghan Sweers, Associate Trainer

Canine Staff

Dawn Bohan, National Breeding Program Coordinator
Jim Cantrell, Canine Flow Coordinator
Taylor Contreras, Breeding Program Assistant
Carol Dobos, Equipment Stitcher/R&D
Linda French, Regional Foster Puppy/Client Services Representative, Southeast Michigan
Debby Gaylor, Canine Administrative Assistant
Mike Hanna, Canine Flow and Prisons Manager
Matt Hansen, Canine Facility Specialist
Dawn Hunter, Foster Puppy Assistant, Southeast Michigan
Kylee Huizinga, Canine Facility Specialist
Jennifer Hill, Southeast Michigan Foster Puppy Coordinator
Wendy McIntosh,  Canine Flow & Veterinary Administrative Assistant
Ashley Parsons, Canine Facility Specialist
Joe Thiel, Canine Care Specialist
Emily Thompson, Canine Facility Specialist
Julie Thorington, National Foster Puppy Coordinator
Mike VanLent, Canine Care Specialist
Donna Venner, Canine Administrative Assistant

Animal Care Staff

Emily Beard, Groomer
Nicole Hall, Veterinary Technician
Dr. Jeanne Klynsma, Staff Veterinarian
Karlie Vander Kolk, Groomer

Building Care Staff

Kevin Thiel, Building Care Supervisor
Ruby Alvarado
Brandon BeVier
Michelle Crawford
Doug Hollebeek
Allison Lake
Heather Miller
Diane Williams

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